Fiery Adventures at Ca’ d’Alfieri, Italy
Story & photos by Harald Zoschke
If you think of spicy Italy, most likely Calabria will come to your mind. But even in Northern Italy, a hotbed of heat can be found, thanks to a fiery couple that changed its career in the mid ’90s.
Italian Maurizio Bovi and his German friend Harald Zoschke have a lot in common. Both were computer software specialists in their previous lives, they love chiles and spicy food, and in the mid 1990s, they both realized that there must be more to (work) life than bits and bytes. And both were fortunate enough to have wives to share their vision.
While Harald and Renate first moved to St. Petersburg, Florida to start Suncoast Peppers, Inc. and developed award-winning hot sauces, their friends Maurizio Bovi and Luisa Sgarbossa from the Italian region of Venetia moved to the Emilia Romagna, one of the world’s foodie paradise places. In the middle of (almost) nowhere, the couple purchased an old rock-built farmhouse on a huge chunk of land, named Ca’ d’Alfieri. Their plan: grow fruit and vegetables, raise farm animals and live off the land they own and work.
Besides producing all sorts of agricultural products that they’re selling at their own store and also in a Parma market, Maurizio and Luisa run a bed & breakfast in their meticulously restored buildings. And they serve fine Italian cuisine to their guests—and by request, fiery, too!
Here’s a little insight into the unique adventure that our friends undertook. Beware though—it might awaken your appetite to pack your suitcase and travel to this surprisingly spicy Italian hideaway right away!
The adventurous Italian couple picked quite a remote spot for their dream—a 19th century villa/farmhouse on a nice piece of land in the Noveglia Valley, a winding 6 mile drive from the village of Bardi (see map), about 2,100 feet above sea level. Bardi is located in the western part of the province of Parma, in the region named Emilia Romagna. This region is foodie paradise—see also my report about Parma.
While Parma is a busy city, Bardi is quiet and slow-paced. Once you leave the village, you are surrounded by nature, and if you manage to make your way up the winding road to Ca d’Alfieri, you’ll be surprised that there are still tranquil places like this. The arrow in the photo above marks the location.